Turkey Invades Syria, Backed By U.S.

Turkey Invades Syria, Backed By U.S.

syria safe zoneBy Brandon Turbeville

On Wednesday morning, Turkey abruptly launched an all-out military assault on Syria, sending in tanks, troops, and engaging in airstrikes, in concert with airstrikes from the United States, to the northern portions of Syria near the Turkey-Syria border under the guise of combating ISIS forces. At this time, the military operations seem focused around Jarablus.

According to the BBC, “A dozen Turkish tanks and other vehicles have rolled across the Syrian border after heavy shelling of an area held by so-called Islamic State (IS). Military sources told Turkish media 70 targets in the Jarablus area had been destroyed by artillery and rocket strikes, and 12 by air strikes.”

For those who may be wondering exactly what the Turkish goal might be, two points must be mentioned in regards to Turkey’s actions which should go some length to demonstrate that the Turks are still focused on destroying the Syrian government as well as preventing the establishment of a Kurdish enclave either in Syria or Turkey.

First, the Turkish military is acting as the frontal assault for “moderate” rebel forces like the FSA who are marching in directly behind the Turkish military to hold territory conquered by the Turks. Any association with the Free Syrian Army, a gaggle of Western-backed extremists indistinguishable from ISIS, should be a major warning sign to any informed observer that the goal is not to aid in the destruction of terrorist forces in Syria or to assist the Syrian government in its goal to do so. Second, the Turkish invasion was accompanied by American airstrikes which clearly indicates that the Turks are operating closely with the United States, which has been chomping at the bit to either directly destroy the Syrian government via military invasion or to create “buffer zones” and “safe zones” in the country to act as forward operating bases for future terrorist proxy operations.

Al-Masdar reports on the progress of the Turkish military offensive by writing:

The Turkish Special Forces, alongside the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Faylaq Al-Sham, reportedly captured their first village during this new offensive dubbed “Operation Euphrates Shield.”According to Faylaq Al-Sham’s official media wing, their forces captured the village of Tal Katlijah after the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists quickly abandoned the area in order to reinforce Jarabulus.

ISIS has mostly abandoned the small area between Jarabulus and the Turkish border, leaving only small units to resist the advancing Turkish-backed rebels.

The Turkish-backed rebels are now attacking the hilltop village of Tal Sha’er, which is along the road to Jarabulus.

The Turk agenda here is also two-fold: On one hand, Turkey’s Erdogan wants to continue to work with NATO and the United States to destroy the secular government of Bashar al-Assad while, on the other hand, Turkey needs to do all it can do to prevent an autonomous Kurdish enclave on its border with Syria. An effective way to do this is to create a “buffer zone” between the Kurds and Turkey while, at the same, making sure that the dimensions of the “buffer zone” are the same as the “safe zone” desired by NATO two years ago in order to keep terrorist supply lines moving through Turkey and in to Syria. That narrow and porous jihadist corridor has become known as the Jarablus corridor, the same areas which the Turks are now invading and filling up with terrorists as we speak.

For its part, the Syrian government has condemned the Turkish invasion. As ABC News reports,

Syria’s government has denounced Turkish military incursion, describing it as Turkey’s “blatant violation” of Syrian sovereignty.

In a statement reported by state-run news agency SANA on Wednesday, the government says that “any move to combat terrorism on Syrian territories should have been coordinated with the Syrian government and army.”

The statement also calls for an immediate end to the Turkish “aggression,” which it says is being carried out under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

It says: “Fighting terrorism cannot be undertaken by ousting Daesh and replacing it with other terrorist organizations directly backed by Turkey.” Daesh is the Arabic language acronym for IS.

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Turkey Invades Syria, America Spins The Bottle

So within the space of a few days, the United States has, first, commanded the government of Syria to keep its air force away from part of its own sovereign territory, Hasakah, occupied by American soldiers and their Kurdish “partners”; it then, with applause from other NATO countries, provided air support for a Turkish invasion of Syria and seizure of the Syrian town of Jarablus from those “partners.” These are unambiguous acts of war, and Orwellian acts of doublethink aggression.

Note that Hasakah, where the incident with the Syrian Air Force took place, is not in an area controlled by ISIS. So whatever American troops were doing there, they were not fighting ISIS. Note also that Turkey’s announced reason for seizing Jarablus—in order to seal the border and prevent ISIS in Syria from receiving recruits and supplies—is a flimsy excuse that, as the New York Times (NYT) reports, the Turks don’t even try to maintain: “Turkish officials made little secret that the main purpose of the operation was to ensure that Kurdish militias did not consolidate control over an area west of the Euphrates River.”’

As Al-Qaeda cleric Al-Muhaysin has assured would-be recruits: “The truth is that the Turks don’t prevent anyone from entering Syria.” If the Turks wanted to close the Syrian border, across which they’ve been trafficking ISIS soldiers, arms, and oil for years, they could just close it, on their side. No need to invade Syria. In fact, ISIS was informed of the attack, and left Jarablus before the brave Turks and their Syrian rebel partners arrived. The Washington Post said: “The rebels encountered almost no resistance from Islamic State fighters, who fled ahead of the advancing force.” The blogger Moon of Alabama (MoA) made the point more sharply: “There was no resistance to the move. The Islamic State, which had been informed of the attack, had evacuated all fighters and their families out of Jarablus. … As one commentator remarked: They even left mints on the pillows. The toleration of ISIS by Turkey, which includes some not so secret support, will likely continue.”

Indeed, Al Jazeera reported that, “a small contingent of special forces had travelled into Syria to secure the area before the larger ground operation.” And, Roger Annis cites Kurdish ANF News as reporting that “local residents, said there was little fighting. Instead, ISIS forces turned the city over to the Turkey-supported irregulars and calmly withdrew, many traveling into Turkey. Several reports said that in crossing into Turkey, ISIS cadre donned the uniform of the Syrian Free Army.”

Gee, one might be excused for thinking that ISIS is a pawn that the Americans and Turks can move around the board at will. Or even, as Turkish HDP parliamentarian Hişyar Özsoy, echoing a statement from the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), says: “This is not an operation to rescue the town of Jarablus from ISIS…This is an operation to rescue ISIS from Kurdish forces, who just last week captured the town of Manbij and defeated ISIS.”

So this is not about the war on ISIS, although they’ll be an occasional target. It’s about the war on Syria—and for Turkey, the war on the Kurds above all. It certainly is not about saving any part of the world for democracy and human rights. As The Independent reports: the Syrian rebels installed in Jarablus by American planes and Turkish tanks “include the Islamist Faylaq Al-Sham militia and Nour al-Din al-Zenki movement, whose fighters decapitated a child on video in Aleppo last month.” ISIS militants give their seats in Jarablus to the “moderate” headchoppers, and move on to fight elsewhere. Jihadi musical chairs. With Turkey and the U.S. playing the tune.

The harsh note you hear—or don’t, if you only listen to the siren song of the American media—is the discordance between the Turkish and American arrangements of this score. Both want to abolish the Baathist regime in Syria, and demolish the secular Syrian state. The U.S.—for various reasons, including its commitment to the Zionist program for the region—has been laser-focussed on that outcome, and has long considered the break-up of Syria into three parts—Sunni, Alawite/Shia, and Kurd—an acceptable path (“Plan B”) to that outcome. In fact, in 2012, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon and another “high-ranking Israeli officer” gleefully foresaw: “Syria’s fragmentation into provinces, … the formation of an Alawite district in the coastal region… a Sunni province …and …a Kurdish province in northern Syria.” (And if you don’t think what Israel wants is reflected in what America does, think again.)

This Plan B has become more attractive to the U.S., as the fall of Damascus has been stymied, for a while at least, by Russian military support of the Syrian government. At the same time, the Kurds have a lot of international sympathy. Their legitimate national aspirations have lbeen crushed by the governments of the countries they inhabit—Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey. For this reason, and because they inhabit areas with substantial oil reserves, the Kurds have been repeatedly recruited as “partners”—i. e., opportune instruments—in various American and Israeli schemes against the three of those countries they target.

Aware of this international sympathy for the Kurds, and too beleaguered elsewhere, since 2012 the Syrian government ceded a kind of semi-autonomy to Kurdish groups in northern Syria. The Syrian army would keep some forces there to demonstrate formal sovereignty, but Kurdish parties and militias would effectively run key towns like Hasakah without interference. This created an opening for American intervention, especially since ISIS wasn’t content to let the Kurds be. The U.S. has armed and supported a number or Kurdish (and other ethnic) groups in northern Syria, helped them organize as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and put American troops on the ground—ostensibly for the purpose of protecting the Kurds from ISIS.

These were the “partners” the Americans were defending from the Syrian Ari Force last week. In fact, the American forces goaded elements of the SDF, particularly the People’s Protection Units (YPG), into breaking the live-and-let-live gentlemen’s agreement and attacking the Syrian government outpost in Hasakah. This provoked the inevitable Syrian response in defense of their troops, and allowed the U.S. to start proclaiming a “no-fly” zone of sorts over Syrian territory. It was also a move by the U.S. to begin creating an autonomous Kurdish zone in northern Syria, completely cleansed of a Syrian government presence. This zone would de facto commence the desired break-up of Syria, and provide a safe haven for favored jihadi groups. The YPG Kurds may have thought they were striking a blow for an independent Kurdistan with this attack on August 18th, but MoA was somewhat more perceptive: “I believe that this is a severe miscalculation by the Kurds which they will come to rue. The U.S. is not a reliable friend and it will not defend the Kurds should the other actors turn against them with their whole might.”

Six days later, Turkey invaded Kurdish Syria and occupied Jarablus. American Vice-President Joe Biden stood beside Turkish President Erdogan and commanded the Kurds to back off and let Turkey have its way—to actually surrender territory they had won from ISIS to Turkey, and to the Free Syrian Army, Faylaq Al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, and re-costumed-ISIS jihadis who follow in the wake of Turkish tanks.

A lot of Kurds are in no mood to surrender to Turkey, and are furious. As even the NYT recognizes, Kurdish groups are “reeling from what [they] see as an American betrayal.” The KCK claims that Turkey’s “main target is Syrian Democratic Forces aiming to democratize Syria.” The YPG, who a few days before were attacking Syrian troops in complicity with their American advisors, wasshelled by Turkish artillery, with American support, for not moving out of the way fast enough. Within a week, the U.S. supported and attacked the same group.

Probably because, within a month, the U.S. had gone from abetting a coup against Erdogan to being his best-bud accomplice in occupying Kurdish Syria. There’s widespread perception of American complicity in the Turkish coup attempt—which killed 250 people, and which was opposed by every political faction in Turkey. As Patrick Cockburn says: “It is difficult to find anybody on the left or right who does not suspect that at some level the US was complicit.” A quite reasonable suspicion, since the coup plotters were centered at the Incirlik air base, and, as Pepe Escobar puts it “not a pin drops in Incirlik without the Americans knowing it.” Escobar also remarks that: “every intel operative in Southwest Asia knows that without a Pentagon green light, Turkish military factions would have had an extremely hard, if not impossible, time to organize a coup,” and cites “a top American intel source” saying that “the Turkish military would not have moved without the green light from Washington.”

This undoubtedly forced the U.S. government to accede to its crucial NATO ally’s wishes regarding its more-dispensable Kurdish “partners.” Bottle spun. Make-up war kiss for Turkey, while the Kurds join America’s betrayed-ally-of-the-week club.

It turns out that Syria’s policy of leaving the Kurds to their semi-autonomy in the north may have opened a door for the Americans, but it also set a time-bomb for Turkey, with a big, flashing display: “If we go, Kurdistan comes.”  The longer that went on, and the stronger the Kurdish forces and mini-polities got, the more Turkey felt threatened by faits accomplis. America may find it useful to instrumentalize Kurdish nationalism against state structures in Iraq, Syria, and Iran (to come), but Turkey, which has ruthlessly suppressed any hint of ethnic autonomy, takes that as a threat to its national integrity, and Turkey must be re-assured.

Of course, (though it will go on pretending it does where convenient) the U.S. has no principled concern for Kurdish national aspirations, and will resolve this conflict of interest in favor of its NATO partner. When Erdogan and Biden together now promise to uphold the “territorial integrity of Syria,” they’re really saying: “There will be no independent Kurdish state.” (“For the moment, at least,” mentally reserves Catholic-schooled Joe.)

This military adventure also reveals, again, the utter incoherence—in terms of the ostensible goals of fighting ISIS, regional stability, or even rational American self-interest—of the savage multi-proxy war the U.S. has been directing in Syria. As the NYT reports, the American-supported Turkish campaign “pits two American-backed Syrian forces against each other”: jihadi groups—backed by the CIA, “allied intelligence agencies,” and now the Turkish army and the U.S. Air Force, against Kurdish militias—backed by the Pentagon and American troops—that have been the “most reliable partner on the ground in the fight against the Islamic State.” As one rebel leader expressed his confusion: “We weren’t planning to open a front with them [the Kurds]…I don’t know who is bombing whom.” The Vice-President proclaims his full support of the Turkish campaign one day, and the next day a Pentagon spokesman “want]s] to make clear” that the inevitable “clashes,” which are the whole point of the campaign, are “unacceptable.” The frenemy of my frenemy is my frenemy, seems to be the operating principle of reliable-friend America.

What’s the upshot of the Turkish invasion? It’s bad news for everyone. It won’t end well for the Kurds; for Syria, for Russia, for the America (considered in terms of its people’s interests), for the world—or even for Erdogan.

Let’s consider the options, remembering that Erdogan is as fickle an ally as they come. Although, post-coup, he is politically quite strong, having been “propelled…to semi-divine status among his supporters,” that advantage is fragile. You can’tclose thousands of schools, charities and other institutions, fire a third of the judiciary, and detain 15,000 people—including 10,000 soldiers and over a third of the general staff (124 or 358)— while pointedly dissing the pro-Kurdish opposition party (HDP) that supported you against the coupsters, without exposing and exacerbating serious faults in the political ground on which you stand. Turkey’s involvement in the war on Syria has been unpopular at home for some time, and the increasing number of horrific bombings attributed to ISIS—a group the Turkish government has been supporting—isn’t helping. Can Erdogan afford to double down on that involvement?

Option one is that Erdogan stays with a minimum program, keeping to a limited territory in northern Syria in order to prevent the emergence of any Kurdish statelet, and making no moves toward challenging the Syria-Russia alliance directly over the ultimate fate of the Syrian state. If he confines himself to that, he will probably get away with it—in the near- to medium-term at least.

This is, first of all, a military conquest. The only force that could reverse it right now is Russia, and that would require a full-on confrontation with air power, tanks, and ground troops. Turkey and the U.S. know this, and it is a willful provocation. With this action, Erdogan has taken on, for the Americans, the burden of daring Russia to react. Since the Turkish intervention avoided direct conflict with Russian forces, it is highly doubtful Russia will take the bait, which would require directly engaging the Turkish army, supported by U.S. armed forces. Putin will certainly not commit thousands of Russian ground troops.

Despite the ridiculous portrayal of Putin in the Western media, he has been very careful. He also knows, as The Saker has pointed out in detail, that Russian forces cannot match American and NATO forces in a full-on conflict in the Syrian theater. If anything, Russia will bring this to the United Nations, and try to resolve it on the basis of international law—which won’t work, of course, but will allow Russia to defer, probably forever, any military response.

Of course, neither Syria nor Russia is going to like backing down on this direct military invasion against a sovereign state. This is exactly the kind of exceptionalism for America and its allies that the Russians, since Libya, have been determined to resist. They will be asking themselves: “If not here, where? If not now, when?” No matter how limited, the Turkish invasion will weaken Syria, and, if allowed to stand for even a short time without military cost to Turkey, will likely mean Turkish control of this region for a long time to come.

The chances of any military reaction, if Turkey keeps to the Kurdish areas, are also extremely unlikely because Putin is smart enough to know that, whatever happens to Syria, this is very quickly going to turn into a liability for Turkey, for the United States, and for Erdogan personally.

There’s the international embarrassment for Turkey and the U.S. for having invaded another sovereign county, though American leaders are likely confident they can control the media spin on that—in the West, at least. (The irrelevant dust of Crimea will be frequently thrown in the world’s eyes.)

For Turkey, the real cost is going to be the burden of a war against, and occupation of, a resistant and organized Kurdish population. Erdogan’s post-coup honeymoon will end fast and nasty. There will be more and fiercer acts of resistance by Kurdish nationalists, more attacks on Turkish interests, and increased political opposition. All the weaknesses that were simmering beneath the coup will boil over again in unpredictable ways. In reaction, Erdogan will undoubtedly become more autocratic than he already is, which won’t help his relations with Europe, or the image of NATO.

For America, too, for all the reasons mentioned above, it will become increasingly difficult to hide how completely phony are all of the ostensible reasons for its war on Syria— a threadbare quiltwork of excuses that tries to cover a rats’ nest of bad actors. It will also mean another instance of support for “occupied territory” in the Middle East, and for an ever-more-obvious autocrat in a country with serious, organized political opposition. America’s various allied Kurdish organizations will split—those the Americans buy off against those that maintain a principled stance. The U.S. will be paying various high prices, over and over again, to maintain something resembling a passable situation in the occupied Kurdish territories and in Turkey. Good luck with that.

Those are the considerations if Erdogan sticks to the minimum program. His second option is to go all in with the American assault on the Syrian government, and push on to strategic objectives like Aleppo, directly attacking Syrian forces. Even if, as he and the Americans would likely arrange, he avoids initial contact with Russian forces, Erdogan would be getting in Russia’s face in a way that Putin would be less likely to ignore. The U.S. would like nothing more than to force Putin into attacking Turkish, rather than American, forces, so it can portray its own response as the defense of a weaker ally. Getting Iran involved, and obliterated, would be even better.

Pursuing this option would be enormously dangerous. The costs to everyone, including the costs to Erdogan and the people of Turkey and the U.S, would be magnified exponentially.

The Syrian stage—one of many—is filling with players fed up with American regime-change arrogance. Iran is a player here, and knows it’s the next target, so it will be even less inclined to abide any extension of this invasion. And Iran has as much right to be in Syria as Turkey does. China is seeking closer military ties with Syria and already has military advisors ”on the ground in Syria.” Somewhere, at some time, some countries are going to decide it’s time to resist American exceptionalism, with whatever level of force they can muster. A scenario in Syria where Iran commits significant ground forces, with Russian air, and Chinese logistical, support is not impossible. So, downing Russian aircraft and sinking Chinese ships? Then we are really in unchartered, dangerous territory, facing. a risk of regional or world war, including a nuclear conflict.

That’s why, presuming any rationality, the option of Turkey throwing its army directly into overturning the Syrian government is very unlikely. But I cannot entirely put it past either Erdogan, who may believe in his semi-divine status at the moment, or the U.S., which always has.

Three years ago, Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, exhibitedeither his precognitive powers or the fact that everybody in the deep-state-know has known for a long time what plans were in motion, and the dangers they entailed:

I could paint you a scenario where we start a NATO no-fly zone over Syria, and wind up, in a year or two, with a general regional war, and then, within a year or two of that, possibly lots of big players fighting each other, first through surrogates, and then their own troops…I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Russians … begin to sell their most sophisticated air defense missiles to Syria. Then they’re going to start shooting down NATO airplanes; not one or two, but lots of them.

Did I say this situation was bad for everyone? Not quite. There is one party for whom it’s a blessing. Israel is happy with everything that causes chaos, confusion, and division in and among the Arab and Muslim states of the region, and increases the likelihood of American military involvement in destroying Syria and Iran.

(And maybe even Turkey and Saudi Arabia, for that matter. The same intel source who told Pablo Escobar that the Turkish coup could not have happened unless greenlit by America, says: ”The same thing was planned for Saudi Arabia in April 2014, but was blocked at the highest levels in Washington by a friend of Saudi Arabia.”  No one should be surprised if Erdogan learns one day, as his Kurdish cousins just did, what should be obvious to everyone: There is only one true love, one country in the region for whom the U.S. is a reliable ally—and it’s neither Saudi Arabia nor Turkey.)

As I’ve said many times before, those who think all this constant churning of frenemy warfare makes no sense need to understand that there are those for whom it does  The American policy in the region is completely incoherent until one understands the extent to which it’s Israeli policy. It’s a program that was developed over thirty years ago, in the Yinon plan, which articulated “the Zionist hope that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation.” It was repeated earlier this year by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon who said “I prefer ISIS” in Syria over Iran and Hezbollah; it was repeated again a few weeks ago by a Zionist theoretician who, in a paper entitled, “The Destruction of Islamic State Is a Strategic Mistake,” called ISIS “a useful tool,” and reminded his audience that: “Stability …is desirable only if it serves our interests.” It has been carried out in practice, with Israel providingfield hospitals for jihadi rebels, where they are fixed up to “ensure their safe return” (to combat, of course).

As the man said: The war is not meant to be won; it is meant to be continuous.

Really, who wants this? Besides, of course, the weapons industry, which makes billions off it. Have the American people been clamoring for war on Syria? Conservatives and liberal interventionists—lately Roger Cohen and Nicholas Kristoff—have been trying to raise that clamor for years. But why? In terms of American self-interest, Syria poses no danger; Assad joined the American attack on Iraq in 1991, and imprisoned and tortured suspects for America in the wake of 9/11. The idea that we’re in this war, along with the likes of Saudi Arabia and “good al-Qaeda,” to promote democracy, defeat ISIS, or save the children, is patently incoherent and dishonest. If, however, you keep your eye on the other, often-stated but seldom-reported, reason—to keep the pot boiling, and to create instability that serves “our” interests—it becomes clear and comprehensible. And you understand that everything about it—from Iraq to Libya to Syria, and from Al Qaeda to ISIS to Al Qaeda 2.0—is a smashing success.

With the proliferation of self-contradictory actions like the American-Turkish invasion, it’s getting harder and harder not to notice the one consistent “interest” at play throughout. Roger Van Zwanenberg, founder of Zed Press noticed it in an essay last year, when he asked the obvious question: “So why do the great powers continue with these policies?… [Is] the cock-up theory…really sufficient to explain the chaos that we are witnessing and [are] our foreign policies really are conducted by idiots?” He went on to remark on the Yinon plan, and “how close Israel is to the USA,” and that “There is no equal to these nations’ fraternal relations in the world. There is no doubt that American policy toward the Middle East and Israel’s policy in the region are powerfully coordinated.” One true love.

There’s a blind spot in the thinking of many Americans, certainly including educated liberals, who know very well that the American deep state and foreign-policy apparatus is populated from bottom to tippy-top with personnel for whom there is no greater interest to be served than that of Israel and the Zionist project. They know, and would probably acknowledge, that the U.S. would do nothing in Syria without assuring the Israelis that the result will be a net benefit to them. If pressed to think about it, they might understand and acknowledge that this ipso facto means the entire process of intervention must be coordinated with Israel from day one and throughout. But what they will never allow themselves to consider, no matter how well it explains what nothing else does, is the entirely plausible proposition that, in this “I’m a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel” political culture, the interests of Israel were present and paramount at the conception, a primary reason for, America’s policy in Syria and the Middle East, since at least the Iraq War. What elephant?

If Americans don’t start confronting all the interests that are behind the push for war with Syria, if they believe the phony narratives being peddled about the war, and continue to accept reckless military adventures like the Turkish invasion, assuming that the aggressions of the U.S. and its allies will be cost-free at home, they will eventually get an expensive and deadly awakening. Unfortunately, the head-in-the-sand combination of media mythology, elite arrogance, and popular non-chalance with which the latest events are accepted, makes it hard to think such an outcome is avoidable.

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Canyonitis: Seeing evidence of ancient Egypt in the Grand Canyon

http://www.philipcoppens.com/egyptiancanyon.html

Is there, within the Grand Canyon, an enigmatic system of tunnels that is evidence of an ancient Egyptian voyage to America? Is it all bogus? Or is the truth most likely somewhere in between?

On April 5, 1909, a front page story in the Arizona Gazette reported on an archaeological expedition in the heart of the Grand Canyon funded by the Smithsonian Institute, which had resulted in the discovery of Egyptian artefacts. April 5 is close to April 1 – but then not quite… so perhaps the story could be true?
Nothing since has been heard of this discovery. Today, over five million tourists visit the Grand Canyon each year. You would thus expect that if anything was hidden in the canyons, it would thus since long have been uncovered. However, most tourists only spend around 3 hours of time at the canyon, usually visiting the legendary South Rim view around mile 89, where most of the best and oldest tourist facilities are located. Furthermore, some have said that the entire discovery has since become the centre of a major cover-up, apparently in an effort to maintain the old status quo, which is that the ancient Egyptians never ventured outside of the tranquil waters of the river Nile.

The original story goes that the team found an underground network of tunnels, high above the Colorado River, containing various ancient artefacts, statues and even mummies. A major discovery, no doubt about it. Impossible to slip off the archaeological radar. Still, the Smithsonian Institute will report it has no records on the subject. So what happened? To find out, there is only one guide: the article itself. Though the article was anonymous, it did identify some of the archaeologists involved: “under the direction of Prof. S. A. Jordan”, with Smithsonian-backed adventurer G. E. Kinkaid, who then relates his findings.
But the story gets weirder when the Smithsonian stated that it had no Kinkaid or Jordan on record. In one enquiry from 2000, the institution replied: “The Smithsonian Institution has received many questions about an article in the April 5, 1909 Phoenix Gazette about G. E. Kincaid and his discovery of a ‘great underground citadel’ in the Grand Canyon, hewn by an ancient race ‘of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt.’ […] The Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology, has searched its files without finding any mention of a Professor Jordan, Kincaid, or a lost Egyptian civilization in Arizona. Nevertheless, the story continues to be repeated in books and articles.” There is room for a cover-up, of course, as some have argued. The files do not necessarily have to set within that department’s and the reference to the Phoenix Gazette rather than Arizona Gazette could be a simple error, or an escape valve that is so often present in official replies engineered to debunk. Stories like “the CIA Division X has no record” often means that Division Y is the one who has that record.

So, there is no Professor Jordan, and Kinkaid himself was more than difficult to pin down. However, on March 12 of the same year, the Gazette had reported on an earlier phase of Kincaid’s adventure: “G. E. Kincaid Reaches Yuma.” Here, Kinkaid is identified as being from “Lewiston, Idaho”; he “arrived in Yuma after a trip from Green River, Wyoming, down the entire course of the Colorado River. He is the second man to make this journey and came alone in a small skiff, stopping at his pleasure to investigate the surrounding country. He left Green River in October having a small covered boat with oars, and carrying a fine camera, with which he secured over 700 views of the river and canyons which were unsurpassed. Mr. Kincaid says one of the most interesting features of the trip was passing through the sluiceways at Laguna dam. He made this perilous passage with only the loss of an oar.” The account is factual enough and seems to just that: fact. The article concludes: “Some interesting archaeological discoveries were unearthed and altogether the trip was of such interest that he will repeat it next winter in the company of friends.” Less than a month later, the same newspaper seemed to continue their story where they had left it off: Kinkaid was now talking about his “interesting archaeological discoveries”, which consisted out of a series of tunnels and passages with a cross chamber near the entrance, containing a statue: “The idol almost resembles Buddha, though the scientists are not certain as to what religious worship it represents. Taking into consideration everything found thus far, it is possible that this worship most resembles the ancient people of Tibet.” He also stated that he had found an unknown gray metal, resembling platinum, as well as tiny carved heads, scattered on the floor. Urns bore “mysterious hieroglyphics, the key to which the Smithsonian Institute hopes yet to discover.” In another room he found mummies: “Some of the mummies are covered with clay, and all are wrapped in a bark fabric.”
Again, the account is quite factual. Idols “resemble” Buddha, rather than “are” Buddha. The worship “resembles” that of Tibet, not “is”… Kinkaid is trying to use analogies to explain his discovery. It is the anonymous author of the article who makes the connection with ancient Egypt and lets his mind float to one of the biggest discoveries of all time. Still, the newspaper apparently never followed up the story.

Though the Smithsonian involvement is therefore either proof of a cover-up (as some have claimed) or they are telling the truth, this does not mean that the entire story is a hoax, or that the newspaper fabricated the story. “Kinkaid” may have existed, and may have inflated his credentials. Alternatively, he may have made the entire thing up. It may be a hoax, but by whom?
The newspaper reported rather factually about it. It may have been their hoax, in an effort to sell more papers, but if so, you would expect to hear more about it, including announcements like “more to come in the following edition”, whetting the public’s appetite.
The anonymous author may have fabricated the story, as he perhaps could not fill the entire newspaper. Perhaps… Which leaves Kinkaid. In his first account, we read how he stated that he has made archaeological discoveries, but these seem to have occurred all on his own. Furthermore, it is clear that he has made numerous photographs. We need to stress that the discovery of the underground network occurred before the first story was written. In fact, it appears that the discovery was made roughly four to six months prior the article. But in the second story, we learn Kinkaid apparently did not travel alone, but was helped by a professor from the Smithsonian. Also, it seems he did not make any photograph of his discovery. Though he claims that the access was very difficult, you would expect Kinkaid to have made some photographs of the general area.
In the Phoenix (Arizona) Gazette article of April 5, 1909 it is stated that Kinkaid “brought the story” of the “underground citadel” “to the city” (Phoenix and the Gazette) “yesterday” (April 4, 1909) after having “discovered” the site “several months ago”. It is clear that as far as the newspaper was involved, they were reporting on recent information. But why Kinkaid had not included his discovery in his original account, back in March, is more enigmatic. Even though the newspaper may have wanted to wait to run it, it is clear that the delay is entirely Kinkaid’s.

With no traces of Kinkaid, though, did he actually exist? Jack Andrews has underlined that Kinkaid may have been a real person. In the newspaper report, Kinkaid mentions that he was “looking for mineral”: “I was journeying down the Colorado river in a boat, alone, looking for mineral.” The Canyon was a known source of minerals, including copper. But, in 1908, the year of Kinkaid’s expedition, President Theodore Roosevelt had made the Canyon in a National Forest, closing it for any mining or prospecting activity. Andrews has furthermore shown that the area in which he had allegedly found the cave was a well-known area for prospecting. So he could be real… even though perhaps the newspaper got his name wrong… A spelling mistake could send any researcher off the right track, resulting in the conclusion that a person did not exist.

So, what about the cave? It is a fact that the Canyon has many holes and caves, most of which are discovered by hikers. A clear favourite for an Egyptian connection is the area around Ninety-four Mile Creek and Trinity Creek has sites with names like Isis Temple, Tower of Set, Tower of Ra, Horus Temple, Osiris Temple, etc. In the Haunted Canyon area are such names as the Cheops Pyramid, the Buddha Cloister, Buddha Temple, Manu Temple and Shiva Temple.
One book, Ancient Secret of The Flower of Life (Vol. II, page 302), claims that two backpackers, on their way to Isis Temple, found a pyramid, made from the native rock. Once at Isis Temple, they claimed to have seen several cave entrances. They stated that the cave entrances were at a height of 800 feet, and the two climbed up, hoping to get into what looked like the most promising cave. But instead they found it had been sealed off with rocks. They felt the entrance was man made and that there was a 6 foot circular pattern hewn into the ceiling.
It is unknown whether this is an actual discovery, or more “talk”. Irrelevant, Isis Temple is more than 40 miles from the location given in the newspaper article. Furthermore, it is but one of numerous buttes in the Grand Canyon named after ancient Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Chinese and Nordic gods and goddesses. The origin of the rather esoteric naming is nearly as mysterious as the canyon itself, and has given rise to more than a little speculation as to what early explorers may have found there. But it may also be a perfect memory of its time, when there was a major fascination with all things Egyptian-Indian.

Stanton Cave, a well-known cave containing ancient Indian artefacts, inside the Grand Canyon

Jack Andrews claims that he has known “of this [Kinkaid’s] location since 1972. I have held the secret since then.” In June 2001, he felt it was “the proper time to reveal the location.” But he later adds that he has never discovered the “physical location” of this claim. From his argument, it seems as if he has “seen” the site in a dream or vision, but has never set foot inside it. However, using Kinkaid’s scant information about the site, “forty-two miles up the river from the El Tovar Crystal canyon…” This is not very precise. Andrews believes that the cave is in a deep river gorge, known as Marble Canyon, which is accessible “by either arriving there in a boat or float trip, or on foot from the rim of the Little Colorado river gorge, on the Navajo reservation.” Andrews spells out some other options, all which seem quite manageable to get there… but not necessarily inside the cave. Kinkaid wrote that “the entrance is 1,486 feet down the sheer canyon wall.” Definitely not for the faint-hearted, and the question is how Kinkaid himself succeeded in the task.
Andrews concludes: “I think the “cave” described in the headline story of the Arizona Gazette, April 5, 1909 and its fantastic underground installation was, and still may be, located above an approximate six mile stretch of the Colorado River in Marble Canyon, at the border of Marble Canyon and the Navajo Nation above an area near Kwagunt Rapids.” Is it possible that it remains to be discovered? One ranger said that “that area of the park is very remote and to this day [2000], our knowledge of the area is rather slim, and quite frankly, it is not an area we patrol regularly […] the area is seldom visited.”

Though sceptics have given Andrews a lot of slack, others have just run wildly with the story. It is one thing to interpret the Smithsonian’s denial as evidence of a cover-up, what David Icke made of the story is quite another thing. In The Biggest Secret, he writes – verbatim: “In 1909 a subterranean city which was built with the presicion of the Great Pyramid was found by G. E. Hincaid near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It was big enough to accomidate 50,000 people and mumified bodies found were of oriental or possibly Egyptian origin, according to the expedition leader Professor S. A. Jordan. My own resaerch suggests that it is from another dimension, the lower fourth dimension, that the reptilian control and manipulation is primarily orchestrated.”
The story continues to grow and grow, now harbouring a sizeable population. But Icke then adds his own “research”, using the story as “evidence” for his reptilian control claims.

So, where does this leave us? Perhaps the answer is somewhere in the middle of this controversy. With so many caves, some must contain something. Kinkaid never said it was Egyptian – he just made comparisons. It could simply have been native…
The first culture to occupy the valley were the Anasazi, who entered the region around 500 AD, hunting small game as well as raising corn and squash for their livelihood. By 1000 AD, their culture had advanced to the point where they had begun to develop their own distinctive pottery style, advanced agricultural methods, and a unique form of dwelling known as the “pueblo”.
From Mankind’s most ancient past, we have favoured burials in caves. Furthermore, many cultures have made caves in sheer cliff faces, specifically if they are facing towards the setting sun, into highly sacred sites, often cemeteries. Examples of this exist in the French Pyrenees, but whether it is the Cretan canyon known as the Valley of the Dead or the African Dogon, it is a common denominator that caves in cliffs were favoured, since remote antiquity. Why should the Grand Canyon be any different? And if not, then it is entirely possible that human remains were found… and perhaps continue to be found.
But rather than Egyptian or Tibetan in origin, I would argue that they are most likely remnants of the Anasazi. Anasazi groups, widely scattered across the southern Colorado Plateau and the upper Rio Grande drainage, defined their similarities – and their differences – largely in terms of their multi-storied, multi-room pueblo “Great Houses” or “cliff dwellings”. It is what tied them together, even though the individual groups themselves often bore more differences than similarities.
The site is indeed close to a Navajo centre, which are one of the living descendants of the Anasazi, which means “ancient ones” in Navajo. In the Canyon de Chelly is the so-called Mummy Cave, the last known occupied Anasazi site in the area. Situated in a large, protected alcove about 300 feet above the canyon floor, the two adjacent caves harbour the remnants of a multi-storied dwelling consisting of around 55 rooms and four ceremonial circular structures, or kivas, possibly dating back to 1050.
It was for the two ancient bodies found entombed at this site that an early Smithsonian expedition named the canyon, “del Muerto” — “of the Dead” in Spanish. Here, we therefore have something that is virtually identical to what Kinkaid alleges: a cave, in a cliff, with a complex series of rooms, containing mummies… even the Smithsonian is involved. The one major difference is that this site is known, whereas Kinkaid’s isn’t. But what Mummy Cave equally proves, is that there is no need for Tibetans or Egyptians, but that the local Anasazi are most likely its occupants… if it existed… and why not ? Mummy Cave may look very different from what we imagine Kinkaid was describing… But with so little known about Kinkaid…

Though this story may or may not be reality, examples such as Mummy Cave have since proven that Kinkaid’s story may not be as important as many believe it is. Even if Kinkaid and Jordan were real people, the sensationalist flavourings of the report are all due to the anonymous author. And even if he was reporting truthfully, within the current climate, we can imagine why people could have easily mistaken an ancient culture with a local Indian culture. It is merely because the Indians were believed to have no level of sophistication whatsoever that almost de facto, the site had to be “Old World”… In the 21st century, we know better.

EXPLORATIONS IN GRAND CANYON

Mysteries of Immense Rich Cavern being brought to light

Jordan is enthused
Remarkable finds indicate ancient people migrated from Orient

The latest news of the progress of the explorations of what is now regarded by scientists as not only the oldest archaeological discovery in the United States, but one of the most valuable in the world, which was mentioned some time ago in the Gazette, was brought to the city yesterday by G.E. Kinkaid, the explorer who found the great underground citadel of the Grand Canyon during a trip from Green River, Wyoming, down the Colorado, in a wooden boat, to Yuma, several months ago.

According to the story related to the Gazette by Mr. Kinkaid, the archaeologists of the Smithsonian Institute, which is financing the expeditions, have made discoveries which almost conclusively prove that the race which inhabited this mysterious cavern, hewn in solid rock by human hands, was of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt, tracing back to Ramses. If their theories are borne out by the translation of the tablets engraved with hieroglyphics, the mystery of the prehistoric peoples of North America, their ancient arts, who they were and whence they came, will be solved. Egypt and the Nile, and Arizona and the Colorado will be linked by a historical chain running back to ages which staggers the wildest fancy of the fictionist.

A Thorough Examination

Under the direction of Prof. S. A. Jordan, the Smithsonian Institute is now prosecuting the most thorough explorations, which will be continued until the last link in the chain is forged. Nearly a mile underground, about 1480 feet below the surface, the long main passage has been delved into, to find another mammoth chamber from which radiates scores of passageways, like the spokes of a wheel.

Several hundred rooms have been discovered, reached by passageways running from the main passage, one of them having been explored for 854 feet and another 634 feet. The recent finds include articles which have never been known as native to this country, and doubtless they had their origin in the orient. War weapons, copper instruments, sharp-edged and hard as steel, indicate the high state of civilization reached by these strange people. So interested have the scientists become that preparations are being made to equip the camp for extensive studies, and the force will be increased to thirty or forty persons.

Mr. Kinkaid’s Report

Mr. Kinkaid was the first white child born in Idaho and has been an explorer and hunter all his life, thirty years having been in the service of the Smithsonian Institute. Even briefly recounted, his history sounds fabulous, almost grotesque.

“First, I would impress that the cavern is nearly inaccessible. The entrance is 1,486 feet down the sheer canyon wall. It is located on government land and no visitor will be allowed there under penalty of trespass. The scientists wish to work unmolested, without fear of archaeological discoveries being disturbed by curio or relic hunters. A trip there would be fruitless, and the visitor would be sent on his way. The story of how I found the cavern has been related, but in a paragraph: I was journeying down the Colorado river in a boat, alone, looking for mineral. Some forty-two miles up the river from the El Tovar Crystal canyon, I saw on the east wall, stains in the sedimentary formation about 2,000 feet above the river bed. There was no trail to this point, but I finally reached it with great difficulty.
Above a shelf which hid it from view from the river, was the mouth of the cave. There are steps leading from this entrance some thirty yards to what was, at the time the cavern was inhabited, the level of the river. When I saw the chisel marks on the wall inside the entrance, I became interested, securing my gun and went in. During that trip I went back several hundred feet along the main passage till I came to the crypt in which I discovered the mummies. One of these I stood up and photographed by flashlight. I gathered a number of relics, which I carried down the Colorado to Yuma, from whence I shipped them to Washington with details of the discovery. Following this, the explorations were undertaken.

The Passages

“The main passageway is about 12 feet wide, narrowing to nine feet toward the farther end. About 57 feet from the entrance, the first side-passages branch off to the right and left, along which, on both sides, are a number of rooms about the size of ordinary living rooms of today, though some are 30 by 40 feet square. These are entered by oval-shaped doors and are ventilated by round air spaces through the walls into the passages. The walls are about three feet six inches in thickness.

The passages are chiselled or hewn as straight as could be laid out by an engineer. The ceilings of many of the rooms converge to a center. The side-passages near the entrance run at a sharp angle from the main hall, but toward the rear they gradually reach a right angle in direction.

The Shrine

“Over a hundred feet from the entrance is the cross-hall, several hundred feet long, in which are found the idol, or image, of the people’s god, sitting cross-legged, with a lotus flower or lily in each hand. The cast of the face is oriental, and the carving this cavern. The idol almost resembles Buddha, though the scientists are not certain as to what religious worship it represents. Taking into consideration everything found thus far, it is possible that this worship most resembles the ancient people of Tibet.

Surrounding this idol are smaller images, some very beautiful in form; others crooked-necked and distorted shapes, symbolical, probably, of good and evil. There are two large cactus with protruding arms, one on each side of the dais on which the god squats. All this is carved out of hard rock resembling marble. In the opposite corner of this cross-hall were found tools of all descriptions, made of copper. These people undoubtedly knew the lost art of hardening this metal, which has been sought by chemicals for centuries without result. On a bench running around the workroom was some charcoal and other material probably used in the process. There is also slag and stuff similar to matte, showing that these ancients smelted ores, but so far no trace of where or how this was done has been discovered, nor the origin of the ore.

“Among the other finds are vases or urns and cups of copper and gold, made very artistic in design. The pottery work includes enamelled ware and glazed vessels. Another passageway leads to granaries such as are found in the oriental temples. They contain seeds of various kinds. One very large storehouse has not yet been entered, as it is twelve feet high and can be reached only from above. Two copper hooks extend on the edge, which indicates that some sort of ladder was attached. These granaries are rounded, as the materials of which they are constructed, I think, is a very hard cement. A gray metal is also found in this cavern, which puzzles the scientists, for its identity has not been established. It resembles platinum. Strewn promiscuously over the floor everywhere are what people call “cats eyes”, a yellow stone of no great value. Each one is engraved with the head of the Malay type.

The Hieroglyphics

“On all the urns, or walls over doorways, and tablets of stone which were found by the image are the mysterious hieroglyphics, the key to which the Smithsonian Institute hopes yet to discover. The engraving on the tables probably has something to do with the religion of the people. Similar hieroglyphics have been found in southern Arizona. Among the pictorial writings, only two animals are found. One is of prehistoric type.

The Crypt

“The tomb or crypt in which the mummies were found is one of the largest of the chambers, the walls slanting back at an angle of about 35 degrees. On these are tiers of mummies, each one occupying a separate hewn shelf. At the head of each is a small bench, on which is found copper cups and pieces of broken swords. Some of the mummies are covered with clay, and all are wrapped in a bark fabric.

The urns or cups on the lower tiers are crude, while as the higher shelves are reached, the urns are finer in design, showing a later stage of civilization. It is worthy of note that all the mummies examined so far have proved to be male, no children or females being buried here. This leads to the belief that this exterior section was the warriors’ barracks.

“Among the discoveries no bones of animals have been found, no skins, no clothing, no bedding. Many of the rooms are bare but for water vessels. One room, about 40 by 700 feet, was probably the main dining hall, for cooking utensils are found here. What these people lived on is a problem, though it is presumed that they came south in the winter and farmed in the valleys, going back north in the summer.

Upwards of 50,000 people could have lived in the caverns comfortably. One theory is that the present Indian tribes found in Arizona are descendants of the serfs or slaves of the people which inhabited the cave. Undoubtedly a good many thousands of years before the Christian era, a people lived here which reached a high stage of civilization. The chronology of human history is full of gaps. Professor Jordan is much enthused over the discoveries and believes that the find will prove of incalculable value in archaeological work.

“One thing I have not spoken of, may be of interest. There is one chamber of the passageway to which is not ventilated, and when we approached it a deadly, snaky smell struck us. Our light would not penetrate the gloom, and until stronger ones are available we will not know what the chamber contains. Some say snakes, but other boo-hoo this idea and think it may contain a deadly gas or chemicals used by the ancients. No sounds are heard, but it smells snaky just the same. The whole underground installation gives one of shaky nerves the creeps. The gloom is like a weight on one’s shoulders, and our flashlights and candles only make the darkness blacker. Imagination can revel in conjectures and ungodly daydreams back through the ages that have elapsed till the mind reels dizzily in space.”

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Dollywood employee finds burned Bible page after wildfires

“O Lord to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” – Joel 1:19-20, King James Version

——————————————–

The day after wildfires tore through Gatlinburg, damaging or destroying more than 700 structures, killing at least 10 people and displacing thousands, Isaac McCord was doing his part to help out, picking up debris from the Dollywood park grounds.

Gripping his rake, he revisited a spot in Craftsman Valley he had skimmed over after his co-worker, Misty Carver, quipped, “Is that how you clean your room?” Provoked, he said he had started “really getting in the nooks and crannies” under a park bench when he caught a glimpse of a piece of paper lying in a puddle of water — soggy, seared and torn in two.

McCord, a University of Tennessee alumnus who now works as a human resources training coordinator at Dollywood, said he had no idea what the paper would read, but considering the circumstances, he was curious enough to pick it up.

“As soon as I got down on the ground, I noticed it was a Bible verse, and I was like holy crap,” McCord said in a phone interview on Tuesday night. “It was in a puddle of water. I said, ‘I want to take care of this the best way I can,’ so I gently scooped it up and carried it out the best I could.”

McCord, 24, sat on the bench where he found the paper, and called Carver over. Their work partners, Dollywood wardrobe manager Angela Davis and employee Kimberly Moore, had left to go to the restroom, McCord said.

In silence, the pair pored over the page, the edges of which were burned black, rendering many words illegible. But parts of the right side of the page were preserved enough to get the message across: it perfectly reflected, McCord said, the tragic natural disaster that had thrust Gatlinburg and Sevier County into the national spotlight the night before.

“O Lord, to thee will I cry: For the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field,”  the page reads, according to a picture of the page posted on McCord’s Facebook.

“At first, we didn’t know what part of the book it was from,” McCord said on Tuesday night, “but we saw bits and pieces about fire and scorching the land, and how the beast groaned and roared for help.”

The page appears to be from the first chapter of Joel from the King James version of the Bible.

“We were like this is unreal, this is unbelievable,” McCord said. “When we had both fully read it, we looked at each other — and I will never forget this moment — we both burst into tears. I was ghost white, and we just prayed. There was nothing else to do.

“Still to this moment, almost four hours after the fact, I don’t have words for it.”

McCord posted a photo of the charred Bible page on Facebook, and four hours later, he was contacted by Dollywood public relations workers who told him the post had been shared more than 50,000 times. McCord had no idea, he said: His Facebook showed less than 1,000 shares.

McCord wasn’t a highly religious man prior to his discovery — he didn’t go to church every Sunday or read the Bible often — but he said he has a relationship with God that shapes his morals and how he treats other people. He was impacted by the discovery because he said he knows several co-workers who lost their homes in the chaotic blaze. He intends to frame the Bible page, and now, he said he may re-examine the role religion plays in his life.

Angela Davis, reached by phone on Tuesday night, corroborated McCord’s story, saying when she returned from the restroom, she saw him with the Bible page. It was burned, brittle, wet and in two pieces, she said. Kimberly Moore also corroborated the story, recalling the same details as Davis and McCord. Misty Carver did not immediately return requests for comment.

McCord said he knows people may doubt the truthfulness of his story. He emphasized he is not an official spokesman for Dollywood, and he does not speak on behalf of the park or its employees. He just wanted to share the story to give people hope.

“I wanted to share this message because it brought me to tears. I wanted to share this message because I think that faith and hope is very powerful in a situation like this. There are hundreds of people that are displaced and that have lost their homes. Most of these people will cling to faith. By no means was I trying to get social recognition. … I would say to anyone who wants to call it fake, call me. Please call me. It is something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

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12 Fake News Stories from the Mainstream Media

http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2016/11/22/12-fake-news-stories-from-the-mainstream-media/

With all of the politically-charged talk about banning “fake news” sites, it seems appropriate to review some of the worst fake news stories pushed by mainstream media outlets. No matter how large your family gathering is this Thanksgiving, you won’t be chowing down on a turkey as big as these phony stories from A-list television shows and publications.

Walter Duranty and the Holodomor: The mother of all fake news stories must be New York Times reporter Walter Duranty helping Stalin’s Russia conceal the Holodomor from the world. Duranty helped the communists cover up one of the worst crimes against humanity ever perpetrated, the forced starvation of over 1.5 million people in Ukraine between 1932 and 1933.

This was the worst of many lies Duranty told in the service of Soviet communism. His fake news helped sell communism to impressionable people around the world and changed the course of history. It’s one of two fake news items on this list sanctified with a Pulitzer Prize, which has not been revoked despite strong calls to do so. (In essence, the Pulitzer committee insists Duranty deserves his prize for everything he wrote that wasn’t an outrageous lie.)

The New York Times institutionally refuses to condemn Duranty or acknowledge the depths of his deception, portraying him as the victim of Stalin’s “powerful and omnipresent” propaganda machine – an excuse heard again from the mainstream media in other settings over the years, when they explain how they had to play ball with horrible dictatorships in order to gain access. CNN executive Eason Jordan’s 2003 explanation for why his network concealed so much grisly news from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is a prime example.

Saturday Night Fever: Not many people realize that one of the most celebrated movies of the Seventies was based on a fake news story. The script for Saturday Night Fever was supposedly a fictionalized account of a real disco dancer’s life and times, but the author of the 1976 New York magazine story that launched the movie, Nik Cohn, eventually admitted he made it all up.

Cohn claims that he did see someone similar to the character John Travolta made famous at a disco in New York, but when he was unable to track the man down for an interview, he “conjured up the story” and “presented it as fact.” Given how popular the movie and disco culture became, this has to be counted as one of the most influential fake news stories.

Janet Cooke’s imaginary 8-year-old heroin addict: The fake news manufactured by Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke received a Pulitzer Prize, but unlike Duranty’s, it was revoked after her deception was uncovered.

In a meticulous 2016 account of Cooke’s story, Mike Sager at the Columbia Journalism Review dubbed her “the fabulist who changed journalism,” and made a compelling case for her 1980 story about “Jimmy’s World” as one of the first examples of “viral” journalism. The Post wanted a superstar young black female journalist, and Cooke delivered with a searing story about an 8-year-old heroin addict in Washington, D.C. named Jimmy, a “precious little boy” who had “needle marks freckling the baby-smooth skin of his thin, brown arms.”

The story was so widely repeated, so influential, that Mayor Marion Barry’s administration began scouring the city to rescue Jimmy from his hideous guardians. They couldn’t find the boy because he didn’t exist. Cooke made the whole thing up. (When city officials asked Cooke to tell them where they could find Jimmy, she refused, and the Washington Post invoked her First Amendment right to protect her sources.)

The hoax was exposed when the Pulitzer board bent its rules to nudge Cooke’s local-news story into the national-news category, eager to bestow the very first Pulitzer Prize upon an African-American woman. Cooke submitted a resume to the Pulitzer board which included suspicious discrepancies from the resume she gave to her former employers at the Toledo Blade. When her Washington Post editors questioned her about these discrepancies, she finally confessed, “There is no Jimmy and no family. It was a fabrication. I want to give the prize back.”

Retrospectives on “Jimmy’s World” routinely describe it as a pivotal moment when journalism changed forever… except, as you’ll see below, it didn’t. Janet Cooke was just the first in a line of superstar Big Media fabulists, and her successors were much worse than she was – they fabricated more than one story, and they should have been easier to catch, given the electronic information resources available to their editors.

Another common observation about “Jimmy’s World” is that it slipped past the fact-checking and editorial layers of a major publication because everyone wanted to believe it. Cooke was given not just credit, but credibility for meaning well. The mainstream media keeps making that mistake, with both its own reporters and the political figures it covers.

Dateline NBC rigs a truck to explode: In 1993, NBC News delivered a historic public apology for staging the test crash of a General Motors pickup truck for the Dateline NBC program. The reporters wanted to demonstrate that gas could leak from the truck’s fuel tank and cause a dangerous fire after a crash, so they rigged it with explosives.

“We deeply regret we included the inappropriate demonstration in our ‘Dateline’ report. We apologize to our viewers and to General Motors. We have also concluded that unscientific demonstrations should have no place in hard news stories at NBC. That’s our new policy,” the statement declared, leading viewers with some unresolved questions about why it wasn’t their old policy, too.

Dateline NBC was far from the only example of dubious product-safety reporting. It wasn’t even the first time a vehicle was rigged to explode for a major network consumer report.

Stephen Glass: The enduring icon of fake news is Stephen Glass, whose fall from grace was chronicled in a major motion picture, Shattered Glass. The truth caught up with him in 1998, when it was discovered a great deal of the content he produced for The New Republic and other publications was wholly or partially falsified. In recent times, Glass has revealed that he repaid The New Republic, Rolling Stone, and Policy Review at least $200,000 for over forty fabricated stories.

There has been considerable soul-searching over the years about why Glass was able to fool so many editors for so long. The story that brought him down was such a ridiculous fraud – a piece about a major software firm supposedly hiring a teenage hacker who penetrated its payroll system, in which virtually every detail was invented, including the non-existent software company – that it became obvious no one was editing or fact-checking Glass in any meaningful way.

Some speculated Glass fooled so many editors because he had “wonder boy” star power and great personal charisma. Others thought it was because he understood and flattered the biases and expectations of the publications he worked for – he sold them stories they wanted to publish, surfing the early wave of “narrative” obsession that has completely consumed mainstream journalism over the past two decades. Glass invented people, organizations, and events that lived down to his publishers’ darkest expectations of every social group and profession except their own.

He was so productive, and so good at fabricating “evidence” to back up his claims, that it simply didn’t occur to his marks that he might be faking so much of his work. (A fascinating 1998 Vanity Fair account of Glass’ downfall noted that he instantly whipped up a phony website for the software company he invented for his final phony article, and drafted his brother to leave phone voice mails in the role of an imaginary company executive, when he learned fact-checkers were digging into the story.) Why generate fraudulent stories when honest reporting would have been less work?

Those are blind spots that broadly affect news consumers, and producers, to this day. Detail implies veracity, we incorrectly assume that only lazy writers would fabricate stories, and too many stories are “too good to check.”

Jayson Blair: New York Times reporter Jayson Blair was investigated by his newspaper in 2003 and accused of inventing numerous reports. He was especially prone to inventing news reports supposedly filed from other cities, while he was in fact working from his apartment in Brooklyn. However, the scandal that ultimately prompted his resignation involved accusations of plagiarism in a story he filed about the family of a soldier missing in Iraq.

The NYT conceded that Blair’s career of fabulism was a “profound betrayal of trust, and a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.” Tough questions were asked about how the paper missed so many obvious signs of Blair’s mendacity, including the troubling detail that he never filed travel expenses for all the cities he was supposedly visiting.

As with Glass, it seemed as if Blair only got caught because he was trying to get caught, pushing the boundaries of trust until his deceptions could no longer be ignored – and even then, it was accusations of deception and plagiarism from other news outlets that brought him down, even though the New York Times knew his work was problematic, and he had already been given several warnings. (And, of course, everyone involved should have remembered the story of Stephen Glass, which was only five years old at the time.)

The Times’ internal investigation concluded Blair’s deceit was able to continue for so long due to “a failure of communication among senior editors; few complaints from the subjects of his articles; his savviness and his ingenious ways of covering his tracks,” and most importantly, the fact that “no one saw his carelessness as a sign that he was capable of systematic fraud.”

The latter judgment seems unfair to the editors who did see signs of systematic fraud, but were unable to get Blair terminated before his work led to one of the biggest scandals in the newspaper’s history. Other post-mortems of the Blair affair put more blame on top management for creating a toxic environment where editors were afraid to voice serious concerns.

Blair resurfaced recently with an op-ed chastising the media for… failing to fact-check Donald Trump aggressively enough during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Rathergate: The pivotal scandal of the New Media era was the pitiful end of Dan Rather’s career at CBS News – a debacle so devastating to legacy media that liberals still try to rewrite its history, every time they think nobody’s looking. Rather and his producer Mary Mapes tried to throw the 2004 election (and, in the minds of the strongest critics, America’s war effort in Iraq) with a phony story about George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service, complete with falsified documents from the 1960s that were demonstrably generated using 2004-era word processing software.

Rathergate was a tremendous blow to the credibility of CBS News, which generated a fresh tidal wave of fake news stories to protect Rather after his report on Bush was detonated by bloggers. The cover-up was bigger than the original crime, and the original crime against journalism was shocking, because even the CBS internal investigation – which many critics found redolent of whitewash – found that several production and management people allowed the story to air, even though they knew the documents could not be authenticated.

The Rathergate disaster gave us one of the most enduring phrases for discussions of media bias: “fake, but accurate.” There were some spirited arguments in 2004 and 2005 about whether falsified reporting was acceptable, provided the story held Deeper Truth.

The proto-Tea Party gun scare: There was a lot of fake reporting surrounding the Tea Party movement. One of the most memorable examples was MSNBC breathlessly warning about “white people showing up with guns” at the 2009 health care reform rallies that were precursors to the Tea Party. The segment included a great deal of hyperventilation about the alleged anger of white people over “a black person being president,” and the commensurate rise of “hate groups.”

MSNBC illustrated its claim with footage of an armed man at a rally after President Obama’s speech to the VFW in Phoenix, Arizona. The footage was edited to conceal that the man was, in fact, black.

Oceans of ink were spilled over the following years about how the health care protesters, and later the Tea Party, were dangerous. Assertions about armed racists stalking the fringes of the movement were a common element of this caricature.

George Zimmerman’s edited 911 call: The media was very interested in keeping the George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin story hot, fresh, and outrageous, eagerly stirring a bubbling pot of racial paranoia for political and ratings reasons. A great deal of the early reporting about the Trayvon Martin shooting could be classified as “fake news.” Who can forget the widely circulated images of Martin as a baby-faced child, even though reporters knew that wasn’t what he looked like at the time of his death?

The nadir of fake news in the Zimmerman-Martin story was reached when NBC News deliberately, maliciously edited a recording of the call Zimmerman placed to 911 on the night of the February 2012 shooting, to make it sound as if Zimmerman was obsessed with Martin’s race. NBC reporters even tried to convince viewers Zimmerman used a racial epthet.

The adventures of Brian Williams: Brian Williams’ anchorman career at NBC News came to an end in 2015 after he was accused of lying about taking enemy fire while helicoptering into Iraq in 2003. The accusation came from soldiers who were aboard the helicopter. Williams told the story repeatedly, over a span of years, before he was called out.

NBC executives recalled having a great deal of difficulty getting Williams to admit he lied, and offer an unqualified apology. Amazingly, Williams still has a career in broadcast journalism.

The Rolling Stone rape hoax: The biggest recent fake news story is the appalling Rolling Stone rape hoax, which led to a successful defamation suit against the magazine, its publisher, and reporter Sabrina Erdely by an administrator at the University of Virginia.

Erdely claims she was deceived by the subject of her story, a young woman known as “Jackie” who claimed to have been gang-raped by a University of Virginia fraternity. Attorneys for U-Va. administrator Nicole Eramo argued that Erdely and Rolling Stone pushed ahead with the story even though it had numerous inconsistencies that could not be resolved, and none of the crucial details could be corroborated.

Critics saw the Rolling Stone saga as a paramount example of media narrative obsession run amok, a story the magazine wanted to be true so much that they ignored substantial evidence it wasn’t. Those critics also point to the vitriolic response leveled at anyone who correctly questioned the story after it was published. The campus rape epidemic was a story the media and its favorite politicians were very interested in covering; the presumptive victim was given endless benefit of the doubt, while the accused fraternity and its administrative enablers were granted none.

Another interesting aspect of the Rolling Stone hoax is the way details were accepted as evidence of veracity. Just as Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair made their fake stories look plausible by peppering them with plenty of little details, so Jackie impressed Erdely and her magazine’s fact-checkers by providing highly detailed answers to their questions. The fact that none of those details could actually be confirmed did nothing to derail the Fake News Express.

The “fake news” freakout: The story about a professor creating an authoritative list of “fake news” websites, as widely reported across the mainstream media, was itself a fake news story. The creator of the list was a madcap left-wing activist who compiled it on a whim, not through any sort of rigorously-vetted academic process. When the list of fake news sites came under sustained criticism, it was removed from the Internet, long after generating a raft of stories on top news websites and TV shows.

As with many of the other stories above, the fake-news-site list received huge MSM coverage because it dovetailed with a Democrat political initiative – President Obama is personally involved – and it flattered both the ideological preferences and business interests of Big Media.

Furthermore, as Brian Feldman at New York Magazine points out, the much-hyped factoid about excessive “engagement” with fake election news stories is more like anecdotal evidence than hard data, overstates the actual readership of the fake stories, understates the reach of traditional news sources, and mines a great deal of alarm out of Facebook’s tendency to give opaque answers to questions about its algorithms.

Feldman suggests it would be more appropriate to view the engagement data “holistically” than as evidence that “fake news is rampant” and further proof that Facebook itself is a “black box” understood imperfectly by everyone outside the company… but that’s not nearly sensationalistic enough for Big Media, or damning enough to launch a thousand Hot Take editorials about the dangers of fake news swaying elections, is it?

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Monsanto Is SCRAMBLING To Bury This Breaking Story…

http://nesaranews.blogspot.com/2016/11/monsanto-is-scrambling-to-bury-this.html

I am frankly shocked this information is not making front page news right now. Monsanto will do anything to bury this story… and as of right now, it’s working.
Not a single mainstream media outlet has covered this appalling new report that shows millions of people being poisoned by a chemical that does not belong in our food. 
This chemical is ending up in processed foods like Cheerios, Ritz Crackers, and Oreos and being consumed by humans across the world. The health of millions of people is on the line and this news must go mainstream! That’s why I’m calling on every single one of you who reads this post to share this breaking story now. The only way this injustice will be corrected is if enough of us stand up and demand that something be done to stop the poisoning of our food supply.

Share this shocking new report with everyone you know….

A FDA-registered food safety laboratory tested iconic American food for residues of the weed killer glyphosate (aka Monsanto’s Roundup) and found ALARMING amounts.
Just to give you an idea of how outrageous these amounts are, independent research shows that probable harm to human health begins at really low levels of exposure – at only 0.1 ppb of glyphosate. Many foods were found to have over 1,000 times this amount! Well above what regulators throughout the world consider “safe”. 2016-11-14_1536
2016-11-14_1537
{See the test results and full report by Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project}. 

Here is why we all should be concerned about eating glyphosate:

  • Independent research links glyphosate to cancer (sources: 12345) and it has been deemed a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s team of international cancer experts. The childhood cancer rate is steadily rising and experts say that they don’t know why. Why are they not taking a closer look at these facts?
  • It binds with vital nutrients in the soil (like iron, calcium, manganese, zinc) and prevents plants for taking them up. Glyphosate is thereby making food less nutritious!

Why is this weed killer in these foods? Even non-GMO and organic food! 

This chemical has gone so mainstream that glyphosate has infiltrated every facet of our environment – our water, air, soil.

  • Glyphosate is not just used on GMOs. Conventional (non-organic farmers) use Roundup as a drying agent on crops, such as oats and wheat. It can’t be simply washed off, as it is taken up into the plant itself.
  • As the active ingredient in popular “Roundup” herbicide, millions of people are using this stuff around their homes, and it’s widely used at parks and other public spaces.

So, that is why it’s not just GMO-filled junk food that is laced with glyphosate. It’s contaminating organic and non-GMO foods, and it’s even in our honey! The FDA quietly found it in almost every single sample of honey that they tested (from mass produced to organic mountain honey). The media has been essentially silent and barely anyone heard this news!
Even if you don’t personally eat the specific brands that were tested (I don’t), how many people are eating Cheerios and Ritz Crackers every day? A lot!

How many of your friends and family have their cabinets filled with these foods? These people need to know this information.

There are still thousands of other brands and whole foods that have not been tested for glyphosate residues, so we can’t be so sure that our own organic, non-GMO, and unprocessed food is safe. Americans are effectively being forced to eat this poison until something is done to stop the rampant use of this chemical. Yes, I said poison.

Monsanto doesn’t want the public to know these findings for obvious reasons. They have our regulatory agencies in their back pocket to make sure they can continue to make a hefty profit while poisoning the masses.

While there are now several manufacturers of glyphosate herbicides, Monsanto completely dominates the market and this is a best seller. They are raking in BILLIONS every year and certainly don’t want that to stop. They are clearly, without a doubt, using their prosperity to influence our government regulators. Why else would those entrusted to protect the public from harmful chemicals turn a blind eye to this?

Our public agencies are allowing corporations to poison Americans for profit.

In 2013, the EPA massively increased the industry standard of what is considered a “safe” level of glyphosate on our food, in order to make enormous amounts seem A-OK. Instead of properly regulating, they effectively raised the “safe” level so that no one can blame the industry for poisoning us with unlawful amounts of chemicals. This is corruption at its finest. The EPA has a long and sordid history of doing whatever Monsanto wants and you have to ask yourself why this continues to happen and how we can make it stop.
The EPA continues to pander to Monsanto, as they keep postponing and dragging their feet to evaluate glyphosate’s link to cancer in humans. The industry is fighting tooth and nail to make sure that the EPA “evaluation” will be in their favor and is trying to control who will be on the panel. Why won’t the EPA do their job to make sure that the world’s most widely used herbicide isn’t causing us all to get cancer? Don’t you think this should be a top priority? It’s time for the EPA to put the public health above the corrupt desires of corporations.
When it comes to the FDA, they are not protecting the American public from glyphosate either. After announcing in February that they would FINALLY begin testing foods for glyphosate residues, they just decided to suspend their testing this week. Could it be that Monsanto didn’t like the results they started getting – especially since the FDA found glyphosate in foods that should be especially safe like BABY FOOD? Monsanto will do whatever it takes to keep that story out of the public eye.

Doesn’t the public deserve to know this information? It should be shouted from the rooftops!

It is shameful that the American media has thus far failed to cover this breaking news, but WE HAVE THE POWER to make this information go viral. If you really want to stop the corruption perpetuated by Monsanto and the large chemical companies – this is how we shut them down!

CALL TO ACTION: Share this post with everyone you know. Tweet, share, and email this information to major media outlets and ask them to cover this story. 

Remember the best way to avoid glyphosate is by choosing certified organic foods because it is prohibited on organic crops. Although contamination is a real threat, the levels on organic foods are minimal compared to what’s been found on conventional foods. It’s been shown that people who eat organic foods have less glyphosate and other synthetic pesticides in their system.
The people of this country must be informed and this should be our top priority. Go, Food Babe Army, Go!

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URGENT! ATTENTION ALL TRUE CHRISTIAN FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST!

crossGod has heard our cry Remnant
This elections results are a direct result of answer to our prayers 2nd Chronicles 7:14 and the Mighty weapon Now is not the time to just sit back wiping the sweat of your brow thinking “Whew we almost lost this one”.
YOUR JOB IS NOT DONE!!! In fact it’s just begun.
It will be critical that President TRUMP is lifted up in prayer.  It is critical we hold him to our Biblical Christian principles. as we are largely responsible for this Deliverance and God will hold us accountable, We must not fall asleep as the watchmen over the house of Israel.
” With Great Reward comes Great Responsibility”
If you believe the character of a leader doesn’t matter to the masses then you need to read what happen to the nation of Israel when David turned from our Lords Christian principles.  We need to ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct him grant him Wisdom and Discernment. We need to pray God will surround him with Godly advisors, Men that fear God! We need the real Jesus Christ to be revealed to him and not the feminized, false Jesus the world has created. We need to ask God to give him courage, conviction and Vigor We need a man in the White House.  A man who will tear down the high places like Gideon ,a man who will toss over the money changer’s table with a whip in his hand. A man who understands you cannot serve two masters.  You cannot serve mammon and God. A man who understands “blessed is the peace makers” and “turn the other cheek” doesn’t mean “let everyone walk all over you”. We need to call down angels to protect him and his family The establishment killed Kennedy because he rocked their Babylonian boat.  They can easily get to him if he doesn’t have supernatural protection. The Major Media is already painting this as an uprising of the White male, and there right. The White Christian straight God fearing male has awoken and spoken. The pome by Rutlard Kipling comes to mind.

“When the Saxon began to Hate!”

THE WRATH OF THE AWAKENED SAXON
by Rudyard Kipling

It was not part of their blood, It came to them very late,
With long arrears to make good, When the Saxon began to hate.

They were not easily moved, They were icy — willing to wait
Till every count should be proved, Ere the Saxon began to hate.

Their voices were even and low. Their eyes were level and straight.
There was neither sign nor show When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not preached to the crowd. It was not taught by the state.
No man spoke it aloud When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not suddently bred. It will not swiftly abate.
Through the chilled years ahead, When Time shall count from the date
That the Saxon began to hate.
 

Thanks be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has given us a second chance for the true land of milk and honey to be restored JerUSAlem

Who heard our cry. “ God Save America Again!”

And Heavenly Father while you’re at it. You know our prayer is for those that can to come to Repentance. Father remove the scales from their eyes and unstop their ears. Let us your Remnant be the ones that expose the deception and guide them to your shining light. But Father for those that roam like a roaring Lion seeking someone to devour. Those that come only to steel to Kill and to Destroy. We want them off the Land or Under it.

Those that professed with their own mouths.” If Donald Trump becomes President I’m moving out of  the  Country” father hold these to their word.

“Off the Land or Under it”

Actors Bryan Cranston,  Samuel L. Jackson  Lena Dunham  Neve Campbell,

Singers Cher, Miley Cyrus, Barbara Streisand, Ne-Yo 

Comedians Amy Schumer Chelsea Handler, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Keegan-Michael Key, George Lopez

Political Figures Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ( later retracted, She said it Lord ,Hold her too it )  Al Sharpton

Just to name a few

DO YOUR DUTY AND PRAY FOR GODLY LEADERS!!!

Father possibly the most important, Keep us Humble, let us never try to take Credit for anything that has been accomplished, acknowledging that it was your Grace and your Mercy, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has given us a second chance for the true land of milk and honey to be restored JerUSAlem

 

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With tunnels and guile, militants battle overwhelming force in Iraq

Judging by the huge number of bullet holes that penetrated a house in this northern Iraqi town, the sniper who had been defying Kurdish and American forces should have died quickly.

But a look inside the villa in Bashiqa one day after Kurdish peshmerga forces said he was eventually killed by an air strike showed how he evaded death for almost an entire day of fighting.

It also revealed how jihadist snipers use innovation and guile to take on enemies with far greater fire power.

The house used by the sniper as a base to target the Kurdish and American forces as they push toward Islamic State’s main stronghold in the city of Mosul had clearly been turned into a battle center.

The militants had punched holes through the walls into nearby houses, allowing the sniper to run back and forth safely as Kurdish forces used an array of weapons — from wire-guided missiles to artillery — to try to eliminate their enemy, and U.S. special forces pounded the house with the computer-guided machine guns on their armored MRAP vehicles.

In several rooms there were huge mounds of dirt left over from digging tunnels. One tunnel was tall enough for an average size man to move through quickly whilst slightly crouching down.

Even though there was no sign of the sniper or his comrades who ruled Bashiqa for two years, peshmerga forces were on edge.

Major-General Mohammad Yasseen arrived to inspect the damage. Pointing to several rows of houses in the neighborhood he said: “There are tunnels beneath all these houses.”

The Iraqi military has captured at least one industrial tunnel boring machine with a diameter of around 2 meters, and Kurdish officials say a far greater and more complex network of Islamic State tunnels awaits Iraqi forces in Mosul.

SNIPER THREAT

Clearing those tunnels and making sure there are no booby traps or hidden suicide bombers will be a laborious task. Snipers like the one who held up the peshmerga in Bashiqa will also pose a lethal threat in a large city.

“Snipers are our biggest concern at this point … You don’t know where and when a sniper will strike. It’s nerve-wracking,” an officer in the elite Counter Terrorism Service told Reuters.

In front of the house in Bashiqa was a burnt-out car. A Kurdish fighter inspecting the villa turned and said: “Be careful, there could be a suicide bomber hiding in one of these rooms.”

When Islamic State swallowed up towns like Bashiqa in 2014 they made their sectarianism quite clear. In Bashiqa, Kurdish officers said, they destroyed and ransacked the houses of any non-Sunnis, including Shi’ites, Yazidis and Christians.

Some nearby shops, now abandoned, had the word ‘Muslim’ written on them, apparently by Islamic State to differentiate them from the others.

The sniper’s house had clearly been turned into a military fortification.

Some remaining belongings of people who once lived there were scattered about. A blue shirt lay on the floor and a few Turkish coffee cups were next to a small silver trophy. Some blankets were covered in dust.

Kurdish officers said there were only about 20 Islamic State militants left in the town. They appeared to be the target of occasional shooting and a few artillery rounds – far less intense than the day before when peshmerga stormed the town.

Kurdish forces in Humvees drove along the main road that the sniper had targeted on Monday, past the abandoned shops. Near one of the shops was a red flag stuck into the ground to indicate that Islamic State had planted a roadside bomb.

(Additional reporting by Saif Hameed in Baghdad; editing by Giles Elgood)

 

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US Postal Service quiet on supposed China partnership

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The United States Postal Service isn’t on the same page with a major Chinese company that claims they have an agreement in the works.

The USPS would not confirm or deny to CNBC the existence of an agreement with a major Chinese package-shipping firm that just launched an initial public offering in the United States. Meanwhile, the Chinese company in question has posted photographs online of an apparent deal signing between the two.

Shanghai-based ZTO Express debuted on Oct. 27 as the largest U.S. IPO of the year, and chief financial officer James Guo told CNBC then that the company had recently entered a partnership with the United States Postal Service for handling cross-border transactions.

“ZTO International Logistics and USPS establish a strategic cooperative relationship to build a bigger and stronger ‘world business'” -ZTO Express release

Source: ZTO Express website.
Front row, left to right: The CEO’s brother-in-law Jianchang Lai, vice president of overseas operations at ZTO; Cliff Rucker, senior vice president of sales and customer relations at USPS

A release on ZTO’s website from Oct. 15 purports to show USPS Senior Vice President of Sales and Customer Relations Cliff Rucker signing a cooperation agreement with ZTO International Logistics in San Diego, California, on Oct. 12. The release, translated from Mandarin by CNBC, claims that the company established a “strategic cooperative relationship” with the USPS.

Asked for elaboration, a USPS spokesman told CNBC that he could not confirm the existence of any partnership with ZTO. The spokesman did not respond to a subsequent request for comment on the ZTO release, which includes the images of Rucker signing the deal against a backdrop with the logos of both ZTO and USPS.

No record of the deal can be found on the postal service’s website. ZTO did not respond to a CNBC request for a follow-up on the status of any deal with the USPS.

A separate release on ZTO’s website from Aug. 30 said USPS’ Rucker visited ZTO’s Shanghai headquarters a week earlier and expressed willingness for the two entities to work together.

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Hungary’s Lawmakers Reject Plan to Block Resettlement of Refugees

BUDAPEST — Lawmakers in Hungary refused on Tuesday to adopt a bar on refugees relocated from the rest of the European Union, dealing a rare defeat to the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.

Mr. Orban submitted the plan, in the form of a constitutional amendment, last month, after a similar proposal failed to pass by referendum because the turnout was too low. Mr. Orban has vowed to block a European Union program that would resettle migrants from the Middle East and Africa, who have flocked to countries like Greece and Italy. Under the program, Hungary, a nation of 10 million, would have to accept 1,294 of a total of about 160,000 migrants.

Photo

Refugees set up camp outside the Keleti train station in Budapest last year. Mr. Orban began an aggressive campaign against migrants last year, as hundreds of thousands crossed Hungary’s southern border. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

The amendment needed two-thirds of sitting members of the 199-member Parliament to pass. It got 131 votes — two shy of the necessary threshold. Three lawmakers voted no, and the rest abstained.

The far-right Jobbik party, which is part of the official opposition but which usually sides with Mr. Orban’s Fidesz party on migration issues, was crucial to the defeat of the amendment.

Gabor Vona, a lawmaker and the leader of Jobbik, said that his party would only support a solution that “defends Hungary and Hungarian people not just from poor migrants but from rich migrants, not just from poor terrorists but from rich terrorists.”

He was referring to a program by which foreigners who invest above 300,000 euros, or about $332,000, in Hungarian bonds can acquire legal residency. The program dates to 2012, but the program has been at the center of attention recently, after reports that Hungarian bonds could be bought in places like the Iraqi city of Erbil. Critics say that allowing migrants to settle in Hungary could open the door to terrorists from unstable countries like Iraq, and they say the residency program might open the door to corruption.

The Fidesz party has been politically weaker since last year, when it lost its supermajority in Parliament. That advantage had allowed Mr. Orban’s government to rewrite the Constitution and to pass legislation to rein in the judiciary and the press, packing some of the country’s top institutions with political allies.

Lajos Kosa, an ally of Mr. Orban who leads Fidesz lawmakers in Parliament, said ahead of the vote on Tuesday that the Jobbik party would be “joining the ranks of traitors” if it rejected the amendment. “Hungary can only count on Fidesz and K.D.N.P. in the struggle against migration,” he said as he emerged from the vote, using the initials for the Christian Democratic People’s Party, which is part of the governing coalition.

Graphic

How Far Is Europe Swinging to the Right?

Right-wing parties have been achieving electoral success in a growing number of nations.

OPEN Graphic

“We are naturally going to continue the struggle,” he said, noting that more than three million voters in the referendum had opted to support the ban on migrants.

On Tuesday, analysts were cautious in interpreting the defeat of the amendment as a sign of the government’s declining political power. “I wouldn’t say that this is a huge failure for Orban — it’s a failure, but a minor one,” said Csaba Toth, the director of strategy for the Republikon Institute, a research and advocacy group that has been critical of Mr. Orban’s government. “This is the second time the government can’t have their own way, which is important for a group whose main governing strategy is power.”

Last year, Mr. Orban and his government began an aggressive campaign against migrants, particularly those from the Middle East, as hundreds of thousands crossed its southern border, most of them en route to Germany. The number of crossings fell nearly to zero after Hungary built a razor-wire fence along sections of the border and as the flow of migrants shifted away from the Balkans. Nonetheless, Fidesz’s campaign against migration has continued, and the party’s stance has seized both attention and voters from Jobbik, which had previously been the main voice for right-wing nationalists.

Mr. Toth, the analyst, said that the vote on Tuesday could be seen as an attempt by Jobbik to improve its political standing. “It can say that corruption is more important to Fidesz than the fight against quotas,” he said.

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